There are over 100 craft breweries in British Columbia, with 60% of these opening within the last five years. We moved to BC 4.5 years ago, so I can’t help but think our personal support and patronage has had some kind of tiny influence! Over those years we have been to a fair few breweries all over BC and I have finally decided it is time to feature more of these here, starting with Longwood in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island.
A warm welcome
Atmosphere plays a huge role in whether I like a brewery or not, mainly because I can always find at least one beer I like. There are some breweries I prefer based on the choice, but in general, it is a good vibe I am looking for. And Longwood Brewery has that.
Located just off Highway 19, Longwood was ridiculously convenient both to find and get to. The tasting room is on the small side, but it has everything you need plus a laid back feel and low sample prices. Growlers and Howlers are both available to buy and fill with six different beers ranging from the light Island Lager to British-style Imperial Stoutnik (the beer names and labels are all sorts of awesome by the way).
We were lucky enough to meet the lovely owner, Tracy, and her dog Milo on our first visit – the latter of whom I swear is in training to become a barman as you can see below.
After selecting our choice for our growler – the seasonal Imperial Pilsner – it, unfortunately, ran out mid fill. I say unfortunately but it wasn’t really since we got to try the brand new seasonal beer, Quincetoca. Hand picked by Longwood staff at a local farm in south Nanaimo, quince (a tart apple like fruit) has been made into a tasty beer/cider hybrid. We absolutely loved it and considered ourselves very lucky to timed our visit so well. I haven’t tasted anything else like Quincetoca anywhere else in BC – it’s light and fresh but also sharp and tangy.
Live and local
If you’ve been to Nanaimo before, you may know of Longwood Brew Pub on Turner Road. It’s run in partnership with Longwood Brewery and so most of the beers are available on tap there alongside a full restaurant menu. If you need a growler fill and you’ve already had brunch (like we had), the Brewery is definitely the place to go!
Longwood hosts the 2nd annual Longwoodstock Beer and Music Festival in August in their very own backyard. I don’t think we will be able to make it, but we’d love for some of our local breweries to do something similar.
Longwood Brewery is located on Boxwood Road, a short drive from exit 21 on Highway 19.
If the tasting room is shut when you visit, they advise trying knocking anyway to see if anyone is around. I can confirm we successfully did this on our way back through to the Duke Point ferry before leaving the Island so it is well worth trying!
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